According to the Breedmasters of the Rovanis species, Veloki is aberrant because he doesn’t have an active sex drive. Mark thinks the young male is just suffering from the trauma of the massacre that had brought the Rovania from Greece to a safe place where they could hide in Colorado. The Breedmasters agree, but if Veloki doesn’t recover soon, they’ll drop him from consideration as a future breeder. Even in freedom, the Breedmasters still control their creation, and they will only breed the very best.
Mark sets about wooing the skittish Veloki with love and patience as his main assets. Will Mark succeed in proving to Veloki that his love is true? Or will the Breedmasters deem Veloki a freak and deny him the chance to ever become a stud?
Frustrating doesn’t even begin to describe it, Mark thought morosely as he headed for his bunk. In almost four months of sleeping right next to the object of his affections, he’d gotten exactly nowhere. The Breedmasters had been correct, Veloki was ill, and they’d since made it clear that they expected him to fix it. Mark sighed as he reached his pallet, placed beside Veloki’s with less than two feet of separation. That two feet might as well have been two miles.
He was trying to be patient. Veloki needed time to heal, space... he was still learning how to be free, and that was part of the problem. Had Veloki still been a slave, the Breedmasters would have simply scent-locked him and used him until his normal sex drive had been re-established. They didn’t want to do that now because, as a free person, Veloki had rights. Mark supported that idea, even though it complicated the issue immensely.
The slow and steady approach would win out in the end, he hoped. He courted Veloki as skillfully as he knew how. He’d taken Veloki on several moonlight hikes in the surrounding mountains; he’d given the young Rovani as many gifts as he could, mostly practical but still evidence of his affection. And Veloki did respond to him. The Rovani talked to him, shared thoughts and feelings with him. Veloki would even cuddle with him, but he always stopped short of scent-lock, and he wouldn’t even discuss sex, no matter how deftly Mark hinted.